Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Description (from Goodreads):
Told by the central character, Alex, this brilliant, hilarious, and disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism.Anthony Burgess' 1963 classic stands alongside Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World as a classic of twentieth century post-industrial alienation, often shocking us into a thoughtful exploration of the meaning of free will and the conflict between good and evil. In this recording, the author's voice lends an intoxicating lyrical dimension to the language he has so masterfully crafted. 

"I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language as Mr. Burgess has done [in A Clockwork Orange]." -William S. Burroughs

Recognized as one of the literary geniuses of our time, Anthony Burgess produced thirty-two novels, a volume of verse, sixteen works of nonfiction, and two plays. Originally a composer, his creative output also included countless musical compositions, including symphonies, operas, and jazz. The author's musicality is evident in the lyrical and dramatic reading he gives in this recording. Anthony Burgess died in 1993.


My thoughts:


First of all, the ones that have read by blog before might at some point noticed me hyping Stanley Kubrick. Yes, I love him. He was a movie mastermind. He directed movies which you can watch over and over again, always finding something new from them. But I am not going to go on with Kubrick, because I will never stop. 


A Clockwork Orange based on Burgess' novel directed by Kubrick is one of my ultimate favorite movies. The story and the way it has been shot is just mind blowing. I have seen the movie for over 20 times probably, I am not even kidding. So when a friend told me that I should read the book as well, I decided to do so.


Alex is a young rebel who causes terror with his "droogs". His life centers around the ultraviolence and the old in-out-in-out. When he faces problems with his droogs, he is betrayed and from that a chain of events begins. Alex has to suffer from the actions he has done, and he becomes an experimental person for a new Ludovico experiment, an experiment to weed away violence from the young rebels. 


Alex, the humble narrator of the novel, is very interesting character. The fact that the story is told from Alex's perspective makes the story very subjective. At the beginning, especially if you have only heard things about this novel/movie, you might see Alex as a monster. But when you go on with the novel, you actually start to like Alex. He is funny, and you even start to sympathize with him. The novel is an interesting growth story as well; you get to follow Alex through different parts of his youth and you get to see how his character develops. Burgess really succeeds with the character development; Alex is a very round character and the reader gets to see many sides of him.


For me personally the most interesting aspect of this novel was the language Burgess uses. The language the teens of this novel speak called Nadsat might seem at the beginning hard to understand, and I must say that I checked a couple of words from the urban dictionary, but as you read on, the same words start to repeat themselves and you get the idea. Alex even gives an explanation to some words which helps a lot. 


A Clockwork Orange is a great novel which fully deserves the status of a classic. I recommend this novel to everyone who is looking for something a bit different. A Clockwork Orange is filled with action and humor and the language the narrator uses makes you think about different words for days. And if you have seen Kubrick's movie, but not read the book, I recommend you to read the book because it brings a nice new twist to the movie.